James Evans, one of our friends from EduTech at EduGeek, has written a blog around Windows Live SkyDrive and the benefits he feels it has for students.

skydrive

Windows Live SkyDrive, is a free-of-charge file hosting service that allows you to upload files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser. It is part of Microsoft's Windows Live range of online services, and uses Windows Live ID to control access to files, allowing you to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly-shared files do not require a Windows Live ID to access.

The service offers 25 GB of free personal storage, with individual files limited to 100 MB.

I have been using Windows Live SkyDrive since around 2008 and have generally used it to store my Microsoft OneNote data so that i can access my data anywhere be it on a different computer, on my phone or on my everyday mobile device and it has not yet failed me.

I have noticed of late although it is a common every day occurrence with users in general, is that students that are working on work relating to a course they are currently studying at college or university have lost there work and have therefore been unable to hand it in on time or have had to start all over again which not only disrupts your routine it can prevent you from handing in your assignments etc. on time.

The general reasons I have seen are:

- Computer System crashes and no backup has been created
- USB Device gets lost or damaged (or user performs a format not realising what it actually does)
- User forgets to save the document they are working on and looses work completed over so many hours etc.

The above scenarios can generally be prevented if someone is advised on how to look after their computer system, checking Anti-Virus software to protect their computer system, saving there work on a regular basis and keeping backups on a memory stick or/ other device.

I know that many university's or colleges now provide their students with Windows Live SkyDrive along side there Student email address as many university's now use Microsoft Online Services (Live@Edu or/ Office365) but there are still many places that do not.

As I have said above Windows Live SkyDrive is a Free service for you to use, and you can sign-up to this service by using your current Windows Live ID, and if you don't have a Windows Live ID then you can also acquire one of these for Free.

You can sign up to the Windows Live SkyDrive service by browsing to http://www.skydrive.com and select 'Sign Up' on the right hand side, you will then be asked to sign-in using your Windows Live ID.

Once you have logged in, select 'SkyDrive' from the top navigation bar:

You shall then be taken to your SkyDrive File-Hosting Space,

If you wish to upload your current documents to SkyDrive then you need to do the following:

1) Select 'Add Files' from the Sub-Menu
2) Select the folder you wish to upload the document to, or create a new folder
3) Open up Explorer on your computer and the drag the files you wish to upload into the square box outlined on the page
4) Once your documents have uploaded, select 'Continue' and you will then be taken to your uploaded documents.

You can uploaded any of the following documents to your Windows Live SkyDrive Account:

- Microsoft Word Document
- Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft OneNote

If you wish to create a document then just select the type of document you wish to create (found next to the 'Add Files' button in the Sub-Menu), give it a name and then you will be taken to the Microsoft WebApp for the respective file.

When you wish to modify the file you have uploaded all you need to do is click on the title of the document and it will open in your browser using Microsoft WebApp, Select 'Edit In Browser' and then the document will look like this:

Microsoft WebApps provide you with enough functionality to do the common tasks people wish to do with a Document, Excel Spreadsheet and Powerpoint Presentation, so you make more advanced changes you may choose to open this using your local version of Microsoft Office 2010, to do this select 'File' and choose 'Open In' you will the be presented with message providing you with a warning, just select 'Ok' and then you maybe asked to Re-Authenticate just type in your Windows Live ID User Credentials. Once you have done this you may also need to select 'Enable Editing' and then you can continue to modify your document.

When you make changes to the document these will be saved back to the file stored on your Windows Live SkyDrive Account.

*please note that the WebApps will save your document as you make changes and that if you open the document from SkyDrive using Microsoft Office 2010 installed on your computer you will need to make sure you also save regular.

This will hopefully point you in the right direction so that you can get started with using Windows Live SkyDrive.

If you wish to find out more information on how to use Microsoft WebApps visit the Microsoft Help Centre where you can find out the answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions and Tips on how to use this service: http://explore.live.com/skydrive-help-center